The Truth About Work At Home Scams

Posted by | June 24, 2010 | Blog, Scams

QUESTION: How do I know if a company is a scam? Charlie, Lake Placid FL


The truth is, you can never really know for sure. Anyone could be out to get you for any reason. But there are a few warning signs and they probably are not the ones that you’ve read about elsewhere on the Internet. Yes – we know them all by heart…. If the employer asks for a fee upfront then they are probably a scam. If the company is not a member of the BBB then they are a scam. If the employer does not provide a phone number or address they are a scam. Right?


And here’s why.

For one, many work at home employers do not want to list their phone numbers or addresses in their help wanted ads because they get inundated with job seekers. Even if the ad says “no phone calls please” they will still get hundreds (yes – hundreds!) of calls. There is nothing that will anger a hiring manager more than unwanted phone calls from job candidates. So, while many scams do not post phone numbers or addresses in their ads, many REAL employers do not post them either. Furthermore, there are lots of scams out there that ONLY provide a phone number and/or an address. Sometimes they will even a 1-800 number for you to call or a Suite # for you to send your information to. So, just because there is a phone number or address listed doesn’t mean its legit.

Another thing… some legitimate companies have fees, especially when you are applying for franchise, freelance or sales positions that require start up packages (think of Avon and Mary Kay that require an initial investment for your cosmetics sales kit). Does this make them a “scam”. Absolutely not. Both Avon and Mary Kay have been around for years and are excellent work at home opportunities. And they are not the only ones. There are hundreds of great freelance gigs out there that are getting a bad rap because of the start up costs. Remember, some companies may require a start up commitment. It doesn’t mean that they are a scam. On the other hand, any “job” such as a data entry position or envelope stuffing offer that requires a “fee” IS A SCAM. In fact ALL envelope stuffing offers are scams. So don’t waste your time. But pay attention to the difference. There are some excellent consultants, coaches, headhunters and job search services that may require a membership fee to join. This does NOT make them a scam. Membership services are perfectly respectable and have helped many people land legit jobs. But if the service promises or “guarantees” you a job in exchange for a fee – they are probably a scam. A legit service will charge you only for their services (job research, coaching, consulting, headhunting, etc) – but NOT for an actual job. Landing a job is always up to the job seeker, regardless of what you are told. So, understand the difference between hiring or joining a “service” verses paying an “application fee” for a guaranteed job.

The last misconception about work at home scams is the BBB. Did you know that there are hundreds of scams registered with the BBB? Why? Because first and foremost, the BBB is a membership organization that makes their money on membership fees. They want everyone to join. If at first the company looks like a legit business, the BBB will be glad to take their money and allow them to join. It will take hundreds of complaints before the BBB removes them. By that time, the scammers already have your money and have changed their business name and rejoined the BBB as a new service. Also, keep in mind that many REAL employers do not need the services of the BBB and therefore chose not to register. There are thousands of legit employers who have no interest in joining the Better Business Bureau – that does not make them a scam!

Now you know the truth about a few misconceptions. Let’s talk about the real warning signs of a scam…

Absolutely, any organization, recruiter or company that asks you to deposit funds, checks or money orders in your bank account is a scam.

All envelope stuffing offers are scams. Period. No exceptions.

Any organization that asks you to accept packages at your home and then reship them is a scam.

MLMs and other offers that “guarantee” you a job in exchange for a fee. (Simply ask: “Do you guarantee me a job if I pay this application fee” – if they say YES, it’s a scam!)

Opportunities that claim you will ‘get rich quick’, ‘earn millions’ or other unrealistic outcomes are almost always a scam.

For additional information about Internet scams

Scams & Swindles: Phishing, Spoofing, ID Theft, Nigerian Advance Schemes Investment Frauds: How to Recognize And Avoid Rip-Offs In The Internet Age

Work at Home Now: The No-nonsense Guide to Finding Your Perfect Home-based Job, Avoiding Scams, and Making a Great Living

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